Ziatype - Help!

Discussion in 'Alternative Processes' started by photomc, Sep 26, 2004.

  1. photomc

    photomc Member

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    Tried to do some Ziatypes this weekend and kept running into the same problem. Either the print came out with only some detail, or it was 'muddy' for lack of a better term. Posted an example of each one, the one I suspect is because the exposure was not no enough (using the big UV source in the sky) and that could be due to the fact that the clouds only show up when you need a UV source, otherwise they are totally absent..one of those weekends. The other though could be over exposed, but it does not have the sharp detail that the other has. The chemicals are about a year old or so, could this be the problem. Process was step by step from B&S, paper is Cranes, Any thoughts (besides buy/build a UV light source)?

    Thanks,
     

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  2. Mateo

    Mateo Subscriber

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    I'm new at this too but my guess is the old sensitizer.
     
  3. donbga

    donbga Member

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    Mike,

    Judging from your the scans you provided and your description about your workflow I can make the following suggestions.

    1) Get some fresh ammonium ferric oxalate. Yours may have gone stale.

    2) Your over coated borders look as though they have good DMAX for your exposure time so I'm guessing that your negative may be somewhat dense but with low contrast (not counting the areas where the light is coming through the windows). To solve this you can add some ammonium dichromate to the emulsion mix. I have several bottles of varying strengths running from 20% to .1%. Don't use NA2 platinum as a contrast agent with Ziatypes, it doesn't work. Ammonium dichromate does and does very effectively. With the samples you provided use a longer exposure time. With palladium printing print for the shadows and adjust contrast for the highlights.

    3) Yes get a UV light source or build your own. Exposure consistancy is vital for repeatable results, other wise IMO you are wasting your time and money.

    4) Are you peaking at the print trying to judge exposure density of the print? If so don't. Instead print by time only. Each time you open the printing frame the humidity of the print changes. Zias depend on a a paper humidity of at least 50%. Use a sheet of Mylar underneath the paper to act as a damn to prevent loss of humidity during exposure. Of course don't print with an overly damp sheet of paper. The paper should not feel crisp but not damp either.

    5) Don't scrimp on the chemistry. Be sure to use enough metal salts and AFO to have adequate paper coverage. Better to have a little too much than not enough. You'll toss a bad print anyway.

    6) Keep detailed notes. Record your drop mixture, relative humidity, paper type, and exposure time on the back side of the paper along the edge written in pencil. You will quickly learn from your failures.

    Good Luck,

    Don Bryant
     
  4. sanking

    sanking Restricted Access

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    I think Don nailed the problem. Since the coated borders obviously have very good Dmax it is almost certain that the density range of the negative is too low for Ziatype. The good part is that your chemistry is most likely good.

    Sandy
     
  5. photomc

    photomc Member

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    Mateo, Don and Sandy..Thanks for the input. You are probably right about the negative..hate to admit it, but not sure I would know what a dense negative looks like. This is also, the first negative I have tried to print using Pyrocat-HD, so probably to many variables. Had two negatives of this image, one developed in Rodinal which prints quit well when enlarged, this one in Pyrocat HD which does not print quit as well.

    Don, did keep the humidity in mind while processing and did use mylar sandwich - one between the negative and paper and other behind the paper. Added 1 drop of ammonium dichromate (1 drop of 20% ad + 1 drop of water). Do not open print frame during exposure, as you said humidity loss. Exposure was based (guess) on the development of the borders. Will have to find another negative and see if that makes any difference.

    Process was 15 drops of ammonium ferric oxalate
    1 drop of sodium tungstate 40%
    15 drops of lithium paladium
    1 drop of amonium dicromate 5% (1drop + 1 drop of H20)
    1 drop of tween 20 10%

    exposure was for at least 10 minutes, relative humidity was over 60%.

    So, at this point I suspect Sandy is right and the negative is too dense ..

    Thanks,
    Mike
     
  6. nze

    nze Member

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    Hello Mike

    The use of dichromate play on contrast but also on printing time. It could expand the printing time. if you use a 20% drop you will need about 2-3 time the printing time without dichromate.

    but which paper are you caoting this also play on the contrast and inal aspect of the print.

    regards
     
  7. photomc

    photomc Member

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    Hello Nze, the paper used was Cranes Kid finish - white and ecru. Thanks for the info on the dichromate.
     
  8. lee

    lee Member

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    Mike,
    come by the darkroom and I will show you a dense contrasty neg.

    lee\c
     
  9. photomc

    photomc Member

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    Thanks Lee, will help to see what one looks like..will bring a couple of negatives with me. Will set up time later this week.
     
  10. colrehogan

    colrehogan Member

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    I've used the 5% ammonium dichromate when trying to print negs developed for silver printing originally and my printing times were 1 hour - 3 hours (I started one too late in the day and it was like 3 hours before I decided that it was as good as it was going to get at sunset that day.

    I did some Ziatype printing this weekend too.
     
  11. cjarvis

    cjarvis Member

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    For Kid Finish you don't need the Tween 20.
     
  12. photomc

    photomc Member

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    Update - Observations After Another Days Attempt

    Did a couple of more prints yesterday (Sat) and thought I would share what I found. First, I will agree a dedicated light source is better than the sun, since the chemicals I have are over a year old and I haven't had the chance to build one I figured I would a least use what I have ... so for now it's the sun as the light source.

    1st print - Issues do not think it was dry enough before I put in the contact printer and exposed it. Was partly cloudy, so light source was not constant.

    The reason I don't think the coating was dry enough - when it was exposed with enough light, it never completed development - DMAX on the outer edges of the coated space was very good, but the remainder of the print was not..best it did was a strong gray color. Question if this was due to uv light or once the print has developed to a point is it not possible to obtain good DMAX? Since the sun was dancing between the clouds.

    2nd print - good DMAX, print looked much better - other than I left it out too long. Overall print was dark, but coating area outside of negative was amazing how black it was.

    Did change negative - see the Perry Church in my personal gallery, this one I know has a good range and it printed much better...even the first one looked better.

    So now the question, How do you kow the exposure is correct by looking at the negative/paper combo in the contact printer?
     
  13. sanking

    sanking Restricted Access

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    Mike,

    Exposing with UV light is no different than exposing with regular light. With an ideally exposed and developed negative the outer border should reach maximum density in about the same time as the deepest shadows in the print. That is not apparently happening in your case, suggesting that the negative is over exposed. If the negative is overexposed but has the right contrast range you can simply expose more and the print should look fine. However, and I suspect this is the case with your negative, if the negative is not only over exposed but under developed the print will lack contract because the shadows and highlights print in about the same time, resulting in a muddy, flat look. You need to either changer to a negative with greater contrast or increase the contrast of your process by adding some dichromate.

    Sandy
     
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  15. photomc

    photomc Member

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    Sandy, either I'm not understanding or ask the question incorrectly - what I was wondering is, how can you tell if the print has enough exposure WHILE you are exposing it. In other words, with the neg/paper/print frame in the sun, how do I know when it is enough exposure? Did some more this morning with another negative that I think has more contrast, and still guessed the exposure but think I am much closer. Posted it in the Experimental Gallery.

    Thanks for your help..It does help, sometimes these things come easier for some than others.
     
  16. sanking

    sanking Restricted Access

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    Mike,

    In my experience the visual reference you get with POP processes during exposure is not adequate to accurately predict when the print has enough exposure. There are always changes that take place durng processing and dry down that affect the final look so you really never know if exposure was accurate until the print dries and you can look at in normal viewing light.

    Sandy
     
  17. photomc

    photomc Member

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    Thanks Sandy, keep reading about looking at the print during development and was wondering what everyone was using as a reference point. The prints I did today, exposure was base on the how dark the print looked - ie when the shadows (thinner parts of negative) were no longer yellow color - it was ready.

    Have noticed the changes you referred to such as dry down, not to mention wash and citric acid bath...now those are changes.
     
  18. colrehogan

    colrehogan Member

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    Mike,
    I take my printing frame inside the house and open one side of it to evaluate how the process is going. I don't know how else to gauge how the printing is proceeding, as I don't have enough experience of the process myself (I've only done maybe 10 prints) and I also use the sun. I am considering getting/building a UV lightbox soon. I want to do printing more often than on sunny weekends.
     
  19. shinn

    shinn Member

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    Checking a print during exposure is only a guide for those first few test prints for me in any process as they all print out to some extent and learning to read the “whisper” takes experience within the process. When I started Zia I would print 2 maybe three at different exposure times and let them dry down and now that I know how much it typically dries down I usually do only one , then for subsequent prints I don't check the exposures for a couple reasons...I fear that opening the frame during exposure of a humidity controlled process will allow the humidity in the paper to change which I believe will lead to inconsistent results and as Sandy stated there are too many variables to attempt to truly nail the exp based on looking at the print prior to dev and dry down.

    You need to be consistent working with humidity controlled processes because everything you do will affect the printing out of the paper as well as the densities you’re able to achieve in the final print. I learned this the long and hard way.

    BTW, I chose to use Potassium Chlorate for contrast control over the Dichromate.

    Happy Days
    Mark
     
  20. Jorge

    Jorge Inactive

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    Les wrote an article on dry down, it works for pt/pd too..... :smile:

    I have my own method, but his is just as good.
     
  21. matt miller

    matt miller Subscriber

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    I'm gathering all the supplies to try my hand at Zias. Where can I get mylar sheets?

    Thanks,
    Matt
     
  22. Robert Hall

    Robert Hall Subscriber

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    I bought a roll of mylar from light impressions.

    Also, how is the humidity with all this? I keep mine quite high and humidify the paper also. (Unless I missed that part of the discussion)
     
  23. donbga

    donbga Member

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    An art supply should have mylar such as Pearl Art Supply.

    Don Brynat
     
  24. donbga

    donbga Member

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    Humidty is integral to the success of the process. If the paper is too humid though you can ruin negatives. 50 to 60% RH should be fine.

    Don Bryant
     
  25. colrehogan

    colrehogan Member

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    I've made prints in anywhere from 34% to 80% humidity (I can't dehumidify the entire house) and I always use a sheet of mylar between the negative and the paper. Is there a way to tell if the paper has had too much humidity?
     
  26. donbga

    donbga Member

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    If the paper feels really limp then it is probably too damp.

    That's my answer perhaps someone else can describe a better way to determine paper humidity.

    Don Bryant